Housan DuPree Meriwether and his wife Charlotte McGath Meriwether moved to Norcross around 1901 and spent over three decades in our area. He was an educator and farmer, and in the 1920s served as the Superintendent of Schools for Gwinnett County. One of the Lawrenceville newspapers said of him
Professor Meriwether follows his profession as studiously as a minister of the gospel … he possesses the true spirit of a teacher.
Later in life the Meriwethers moved on from Georgia, making it all the way to California by the 1950s. In this blog post we will look back at their lives – and at the lasting remembrance they left here for us.
H D Meriwether was born into a farm family in Coweta County, Georgia in 1866, and spent his youth there. He attended college for three years and married Ohio native Charlotte E. McGath on January 1, 1897. They moved to Georgia after they married, and around 1901 he took charge of the high school in Norcross, with two teachers, Mrs. L J McNabb and Mrs. B H Jones, reporting to him. During his time in Norcross the town built a new two story brick high school building which opened in 1903. It had 180 students in the 1904 term.
The photo below shows the 1903 school building on the right. It was located on College Street, where you find the entrance to Lillian Webb Park today. (The center building in the photo was an additional school building, constructed ten years later, while the Methodist church (now the Norcross community center) is on the left in the distance.)
The photo below shows H D Meriwether around this time.
He later taught in Mechanicsville and Acworth, and he was the elected Gwinnett Superintendent of Schools for several years in the 1920s.
In 1910 the Meriwethers bought a 65 acre farm along the Southern Railway a few miles south of Norcross, which they owned for some years. Newspaper articles of this era refer to the Meriwether home as a “lovely country home on Peachtree Road”. The ad below, which appeared in the newspaper when they put the property up for sale, emphasizes the home’s aesthetic qualities.
After leaving the farm the Meriwethers lived in downtown Norcross, but in the late 1930s they moved to Lexington, Kentucky, and over the next ten years they moved on to St. Petersburg, FL and then to Los Angeles, CA. Professor Meriwether died there in 1952, with his wife passing away there a few years later.
Today most of the physical aspects of their life in Norcross are gone - their farmland has been developed, and the schools in Norcross where he taught are now the site of a major park. However, one physical component of their lives here has lasted – a tombstone in the city cemetery, shown in the photo below. It was erected to mark the grave of their son, Theodore DuPree Meriwether, who passed away in 1918. His obituary in the local newspaper stated
Norcross GA December 11 – DuPree, the only child of Professor and Mrs. H. D. Meriwether, died at their home near here Monday night after an illness of several days. He was sixteen years old. The funeral was held Tuesday afternoon from the Presbyterian church. Burial was at the Norcross cemetery.
It appears from the design of the gravestone H D and Charlotte Meriwether had planned to be buried in the same plot, but did that happen? Hard to say - they had passed on in far-away California, and it is unknown whether their remains came back to join those of their son.